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Getting Too Comfortable?
How did things go this week? Did you take some time to rest a little and/or focus on what is/is not working with your and/or your children’s language learning?
Hopefully you were able to use this 12 week mark (which is close to the middle of our Language Challenge 180 adventure!) for reflection and motivation. Often we get so caught up into something (language learning and multilingualism included) that we forget to step back and take a good look at it from the outside.
An interesting element of language learning is that sometimes we don’t realize that the things that seem to be working the best were great at the beginning but now are actually holding us back. We don’t realize that the things that feel most comfortable may actually be turning us into lazy language learners.
Reading the same book to your child every night in the target language is wonderful. Aside from the warmth and comfort that comes with snuggling together, language is being absorbed and solidified (especially when the book is discussed). However, sometimes we don’t realize that we are reading the same book out loud out of language laziness and are missing out on the true language development that could be taking place!
It is for this reason that we need to mix things up a bit (for our children’s and our own language learning). We need to use new words, sentences, topics, grammatical forms regularly so that our language abilities will develop and grow and thrive.
Mastery in anything comes from a combination of dedicated focus on the same things (until we really know them well) as well as adding in new elements regularly (not too much, just enough to keep things progressing). Finding this balance will be the key to your/your children’s language learning adventure.
Here are some examples:
- Reading: The first time you read a book, you/your child may feel overwhelmed. Yet, after reading it over and over again, you find that it becomes more familiar as the language is learned (vocabulary, grammar, sentence structures, etc.). As it becomes more familiar, make sure to also pick out little things to work on, for example: (1) choose a few verbs and make sure you can conjugate them, (2) choose some nouns and make sure you know the articles and how to decline them (3) memorize some of the sentences and/or paragraphs.
- Videos: You will most likely have found videos for yourself and/or your children that are enjoyable and fairly easy to understand. Excellent! Now take the next step and find a few that you/your children would really, really, really like to watch but are a little too difficult. Watch them, but just a little bit at a time (even just a few minutes a day). Rewind them over and over again until you really understand what is being said. You can even put on the subtitles in the target language (read the Telenovela Method for learning a language post for ideas on how to do this) to help you if you’d like. You might even write down some of the subtitles to make sure you learn them well.
- Writing: Usually we start with learning how to write in the present tense. Once you feel comfortable with that, pick another tense and write in that: past, future, etc. Or pick a subject that you rarely write about (science, literature, films, etc.) and write about that. It will force you to learn how to write words that you may never have had to write before! If the language you are learning has accented letters, take some time to work on words that have unexpected accents or are spelled oddly.
These are just a few ideas for how to make sure you don’t get too comfortable in your language learning.
Aim for 70% comfort/familiarity and 30% new/challenging. This balance will ensure that over time you/your children don’t get completely burnt out and you/they won’t just be doing the same things over and over again without building language mastery.
Today’s Check-In Activity
- Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, share any and all thoughts about your and/or your children’s language learning thus far.
How are things going overall? Do you feel that you/your children have gotten so burnt out that you don’t want to go on? Do you feel that your/your children’s language is progressing or are you/they just doing the same things over and over again? Or maybe you feel great about language learning so far? Perhaps you/your children have found your/their second wind?
- Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to the current giveaway and enter! Once you check in, you can enter! It is just what you need to get back on track!
Don’t forget to visit the Multilingual Living Forum to ask a question, start a discussion or give someone else some support. You do NOT have to log in to post there. We encourage you to check out the Language Challenge 180 section as well as the other sections. And come check us out at Pinterest! We’d love to share with you there!
Have you checked on your target language pages lately? Add comments for new products/tips/advice/conversations that you have on your mind!
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